Heartbreak Alert on the Left: FISA deal rumor

posted at 11:14 am on March 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

According to a report floating around Capitol Hill, the Democratic House leadership may have made a deal with Republicans to get the FISA reform bill passed — with telecom immunity intact. Instead of bringing the bipartisan Senate deal to the floor in one piece, Nancy Pelosi will schedule votes on its component parts. Both will pass, but it will allow some members to cast nays against the immunity to protect themselves from the netroots activists opposed to the immunity:

To break an impasse over legislation overhauling the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, House Democratic leaders are considering the option of taking up a Senate-passed FISA bill in stages, congressional sources said today. Under the plan, the House would vote separately on the first title of the bill, which authorizes surveillance activities, and then on the bill’s second title, which grants retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided the Bush administration’s warrantless electronic surveillance activities. The two would be recombined, assuming passage of both titles.

In this way, Democratic leaders believe they can give an out to lawmakers opposed to the retroactive immunity provision. Republican leadership sources said their caucus would back such a plan because not only would it give Democratic leaders the out they need, it would provide a political win for the GOP. It remains to be seen if such a move will placate liberal Democrats who adamantly oppose giving in to the Bush administration on the immunity issue.

The original reporting is behind a subscription wall, and the link takes readers to a blogger who is none too happy with this development. Moe Lane at Redstate and Karl at Protein Wisdom are delighted, however. Moe calls it the “cynical betrayal of the Democratic netroots,” although he does put it in the form of a question.

I wouldn’t go that far. It looks far more like the recognition of reality. Democrats in the Senate backed this bill, which has cut out the ground from underneath Pelosi and the House in arguing that the White House and Republicans should compromise. Why should they, when the bill on the table in the House garnered a 68-29 passage in the upper chamber? President Bush has hammered Pelosi on this point, and even Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has gone public in pressuring the House to get the bill passed.

This mechanism makes sense for all involved. It puts everyone on the record for the two parts of the bill separately, which allows the few who strenuously object to the immunity to make their record clear. It’s a compromise that will satisfy all but the hard Left, who by this time have to finally wonder exactly how far out of the mainstream they are.

UPDATE: Moe actually wrote “netroots”.  Sorry for the mistake, Moe!


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Key word in that 4th amendment, alphlie, is unreasonable. That word means something different when applied to people who fly planes into buildings than it does looking for your weed stash. And, of course, it doesn’t apply to non-citizens (like the ones being monitored) at all.

SDN on March 1, 2008 at 11:18 PM

Please Captain, take that picture down.

*turning blue, running to the head”

Saltysam on March 1, 2008 at 11:50 PM

The situation here is really different. The telecommunication companies knew they were potentially doing something wrong. Or they ought to have known.

We don’t know that they did anything wrong. The immunity is not from criminal prosecution, but from civil suit.

Pablo on March 2, 2008 at 1:25 AM

I swear to god. I want to stay in the minority forever, as long as Mav and the Republicans keep the White House. I think we’ve gotten more of what we wanted in the last six months than while in control. Every big battle whether it be FISA, Mukasey, Berkeley and the Marines, Alito and Roberts, Iraq, Tax Cuts, or whatever they end up bending or breaking. Between Reid and Pelosi, there are no other figures I’d rather have in control taking daily lightning strikes. Think about it.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 2, 2008 at 2:32 AM

Hussein, Hussein, Hussein, Hussein, Hussein, Hussein, Hussein, and so on and so on and so on.

Ceroth on March 1, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Mega Dittoes!

I don’t think calling Barack Hussein Obama by his Christian name is a loser. Please explain that one to all of us out here in the real world.

fgmorley on March 2, 2008 at 6:33 AM

I’d rather the intelligence community took a billion dollars a year from the Iraq budget (it wouldn’t be missed) and hired an extra 10,000 lawyers to process their FISA warrant requests in a timely manner.

alphie on March 1, 2008 at 10:30 PM

Hilariously unintentional summation of democratic national security and anti-terrorism platform:

WE NEED MORE LAWYERS!!.

Bonus points for the frankness about being so eager to throw Iraq under the bus, too *thumbs up!*

Reaps on March 2, 2008 at 6:55 AM

The telecommunication companies knew they were potentially doing something wrong. Or they ought to have known. Either way, they should have gone to Congress to get the proper law passed.

They were doing what they were asked to do. And it saved American lives.

Congress (and you apparently) don’t care about that.

Squiggy on March 2, 2008 at 7:09 AM

Congress (and you apparently) don’t care about that.

Sigh. I left out “the Democrat” Congress.

Oh well. I’m still happy to be alive.

Squiggy on March 2, 2008 at 7:10 AM

As usual, the Demoncrates sulk and stomp out of the room when they do not get their way-poor baby. They think life revolves around them-while it does the reality is that life just does not recognize your ideas as right for the public.

The picture chosen for the leadin to the article tells it like it is-Ms. Pelosi is a plastic person in meltdown. It looks like a stitch or two of her face lift have snapped. Maybe she should use Velcro.

MSGTAS on March 2, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Nancy looks like one of the aging divas from the movie, Brazil.

maverick muse on March 2, 2008 at 8:34 AM

The American Thinker has a great story from the first US female Senator from Montana elected in 1916, Republican, prior to national women’s voting rights.

maverick muse on March 2, 2008 at 8:38 AM

It’s a funny thing. Anytime I hear or read anyone use the name “Moonbat”, Pelosi’s face like the one in the picture comes to mind. Right up there with Medea(Communist)Benjamin of Code Pinko, Cindy Sheehan, and ZsaZsa Huffington. I’m starting to think the Woman’s Suffrage movement never should have happened as I think of these birds………

adamsmith on March 2, 2008 at 8:46 AM

I’d rather the intelligence community took a billion dollars a year from the Iraq budget (it wouldn’t be missed) and hired an extra 10,000 lawyers to process their FISA warrant requests in a timely manner.

alphie on March 1, 2008 at 10:30 PM

So you want foreigners on foreign soil to have FISA rights?

Chuck Schick on March 2, 2008 at 9:45 AM

I just bought gas today, here in CA it’s $3.39/gal…. and headed to $4.00/gal.

And Ms. Facelift and the Democratic controlled Congress is doing what?

When is enough, enough?

Seven Percent Solution on March 1, 2008 at 10:33 PM

For the democrats, enough wont be enough as long as you still have money they can steal…

doriangrey on March 2, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Good God that pic is hideous. I think I saw that same baboon once at the L.A. zoo.

infidel4life on March 2, 2008 at 12:14 PM

That picture of Pelosi is very telling indeed… Put a picture of a deer staring into the oncoming headlights right next to this picture of Pelosi and the similarities will be astonishing. Talk about “the lights are on, but nobody is home”… Meet Ms. Pelosi.

Keemo on March 2, 2008 at 12:23 PM

The immunity question is such a non-issue. Consider these points for a moment:

1. Democrats currently control both houses of congress.

2. This control includes chairmainship of various committees and sub-committees that could touch this issue from different angles: Telecommunications regulation, intelligence gathering, homeland security, and so forth.

3. The combination of the above 2 points means Democrats in either house can subpoena and investigate any criminal wrongdoing on behalf of the telcos, the intelligence community, or the administration. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe they’ve already done this. Have they not?

If this immunity is regarding civil action as another commenter has suggested, rather than criminal action, then I’m in full support of this immunity being granted. Criminal investigations can still continue if needed, but civil lawsuits from groups like CAIR and the ACLU that demand full public disclosure will be stopped cold.

Dave Shay on March 2, 2008 at 12:38 PM

Did anyone else notice Speaker Pelosi has a Dr Evil look on her picture for the thread?

Funny.

My question is what concessions did Mr Bush make so Democrats would go along with FISA? I almost don’t want to know. It would probably make me mad.

You know, I really wonder, almost seriously, how the Democrats would react and handle if the president switched his party alignment to Democrat (he certainly has liberal credentials to back up such a move). Would they stop their harping on Iraq? FISA? Halliburton? I mean, Democrats don’t seem to mind military actions when the guy running the W.H. has a (D) after his name. Perhaps Mr Bush, for the last of his term, should switch parties just to jack with the Democrats.

Despite any implications from our side for such a move, it would still be hilarious to watch the Democrats go bonkers if Mr Bush really did switch his party to Democrat.

Weebork on March 2, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Man, that is one scary picture of Pelousy!

The Opinionator on March 2, 2008 at 2:29 PM

We don’t know that they did anything wrong. The immunity is not from criminal prosecution, but from civil suit.

Pablo on March 2, 2008 at 1:25 AM

We don’t know, and it sure looks like we won’t be able to know since these telcos will get immunity.

Can you explain to me why, if my rights were infringed by the telcos, I would not have the right to sue? What difference does it make if it’s criminal or civil?

mycowardice on March 2, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Reaps,

I’m not a big fan of lawyers, but, if more lawyers is what it takes to maintain my Constitutional rights…they’re worth it.

The Senate FISA bill also prevents states from investigating and prosecuting telecoms that violate their laws…which should rub the anti-Roe crowd the wrong way.

alphie on March 2, 2008 at 2:45 PM

What is it about calls that originate outside the US to points outside the US, that for reasons of technological supremacy, or at least primacy, are routed through the US that is so hard to understand?

While I’m on it, no thread jack here, it’s similar to conflating legal and documented immigration with illegal immigration; controlled borders, that every single nation on Earth concerns themselves with wide-open uncontrolled borders.

bour3 on March 2, 2008 at 2:56 PM

Great screencap Ed. I’ve seen better looking faces in a casket.

labrat on March 2, 2008 at 3:34 PM

Anyone using the phrase “paradigmatic fascism” in regards to the United States is clearly unaware of what fascism truly entails. There is a difference between having a vocabulary and being intelligent. Learn it.

Maybe you should start here, here and here before you employ ad hominem and call me a dumbass. I am sure you can win any debate, as long as you get to control the semantics.

I would suggest you read up on fascism before you open your jingoistic-fascistic piehole.

petit bourgeois on March 2, 2008 at 3:43 PM

The situation here is really different. The telecommunication companies knew they were potentially doing something wrong. Or they ought to have known. Either way, they should have gone to Congress to get the proper law passed. If the Constitution stands in the way, then we should amend it. To grant retroactive immunity at this point makes a mockery of the constitution. I cannot understand why right wingers are not as mad as us for this blantant violation of civil rights.

mycowardice on March 1, 2008 at 10:09 PM

The only reason we need to grant retroactive immunity is because some moonbats are filing frivolous and mischievous lawsuits against the telecoms for cooperating with the NSA on data mining international communications, much of which passes through their equipment in the United States. There was nothing illegal about it, but these companies will be shy about cooperating further if they have to tie up time and money defending themselves in court.

For lucid analysis of the issues involved, please hop over to this thread on the PowerLine Forum,

http://www.plnewsforum.com/index.php/forums/viewthread/29738/

and read Cynick Al’s posts (contra one ‘Tolliver’).

MrLynn on March 2, 2008 at 4:59 PM

In the race to the bottom of the human evolutionary scale, Democrats temporarily re-take the lead in the “gutless” category…

landlines on March 2, 2008 at 5:56 PM

Seriously…Pelosi’s face is scary.

I could pick apart her inane political positions, but, sheesh, that face. Down. Right. Horror. Novel. Worthy.

Montana on March 2, 2008 at 6:58 PM

Please. No more of Skeletor Pelosi. I can’t take much more, must….remove….. picture…..ugguuggguugghh

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 2, 2008 at 7:00 PM

You’re only a true patriot if you openly commit to the idea the the US judicial system is dysfunctional. The legislature as well as the courts would not be able to differentiate between preserving rights of citizens and surrendering to terrorists.

Oh, yeah… and did I mention that it’s the other side that hates America?

freevillage on March 2, 2008 at 7:20 PM

I must agree that San Fran Nan’s picture is in full jack o’lantern mode. All that remains needed is a candle in her mouth for full deployment.

A Dorian Gray without the painting in both appearance and character.

viking01 on March 2, 2008 at 7:55 PM

The only reason we need to grant retroactive immunity is because some moonbats are filing frivolous and mischievous lawsuits against the telecoms for cooperating with the NSA on data mining international communications, much of which passes through their equipment in the United States. There was nothing illegal about it, but these companies will be shy about cooperating further if they have to tie up time and money defending themselves in court.

Frivolous lawsuits will be thrown out. Do you know for a fact there is no merit to any of the claims? If you do, don’t worry, those will be thrown out asap and everybody will be moving on.

But here, my guess is that something else is going on. There must be merit to some of the claims. And this is what is scaring everybody.

Finally, if the next time company companies pause before violating my civil rights, it will be a great day.

mycowardice on March 2, 2008 at 9:26 PM

mycowardice on March 2, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Hussein! Penguin lover! Go to North Korea and read a book on evolution!

freevillage on March 3, 2008 at 12:46 AM

mycowardice,

Do you have any evidence that your civil rights have been violated? Frivolous lawsuits cost real money; frivolous lawsuits are exactly why most Americans see lawyers as “RATS”, or worse.

Back-up your claim, or remain a typical conspiracy minded artist. The only merit to these claims is the fact that “trial lawyers” stand to make millions upon millions even if the cases get tossed.

Keemo on March 3, 2008 at 8:15 AM

When you start cheering large corporations being given immunity to violate the Constitution…it may be time to rethink your politics.

alphie on March 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Puhlease…

eanax on March 3, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Frivolous lawsuits will be thrown out. Do you know for a fact there is no merit to any of the claims? If you do, don’t worry, those will be thrown out asap and everybody will be moving on.

mycowardice on March 2, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Wrong. You clearly do not know what you are talking about.

100% of “frivolous lawsuits” will NOT be thrown out. It depends on the venue in which they are filed and heard.

If all “frivolous lawsuits” are thrown out, then why does one hear about tort reform?

eanax on March 3, 2008 at 11:28 AM

See, this is what happens when you’ve reached your lifetime limit on plastic surgery… and yes, clowns do eat people…without reserve or care for those being eaten… only for their own self-preservation….

CynicalOptimist on March 3, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Finally, if the next time company companies pause before violating my civil rights, it will be a great day.

mycowardice on March 2, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Is it the role of telecom companies to decide whether the federal government is complying with the Constitution?

It should be blindingly obvious that the federal government has the right to demand wiretaps or the turnover of private information in a criminal case, or in national security cases when the individual in question is a foreigner involved in a plot to attack the U.S.

Given that there are circumstances where the government obviously has the right to demand this information, is there any right at all by the telecom company to refuse? It’s not their call whether the request is in compliance with the Constitution. That’s exactly why we have all the overhead of FISA to begin with.

Given that the telecom companies really had no choice but to cooperate, it’s a shame that a law has to be passed explicitly granting immunity from civil prosecution.

tom on March 3, 2008 at 2:42 PM

It’s a compromise that will satisfy all but the hard Left, who by this time have to finally wonder exactly how far out of the mainstream they are.

The Hard Left doesn’t think they’re out of the mainstream, so they’ll continue to tilt at windmills, but the rest of the American public may finally be realizing just how out of touch they are.

lawhawk on March 3, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Given that the telecom companies really had no choice but to cooperate,

Except they did have a choice, and one company refused to cooperate.

freevillage on March 3, 2008 at 7:58 PM

Is it the role of telecom companies to decide whether the federal government is complying with the Constitution?

No, but it’s the role of the telecom companies to ensure their actions do not violate the constitution or laws on the books.

Look, if we had a monarchy, it would be one thing. But, we don’t. We are supposed to have the rule of law. The rule of law says that no one is above the law. It means that the law sits on top of things. If the President tells you to jump and the constitution says that you cannot jump, I don’t think you should jump.

Quest refused to comply. It’s possible to refuse. You make it sound like once the request was made there was nothing telecoms could do rather than bow down.

Plus, on the topic of the lawsuit, let’s assume that my rights were really violated. Take this for granted. Are you telling me that because XYZ person will file a frivolous lawsuit I don’t have a right to have my day in court? Is there no way for me to get redress?

People can talk about tort reform for many reasons. Here is one that has nothing to do with frivolous lawsuit: the cost of a tort trial can be excessive in proportion to the amount of money at stake. You could do tort reform to avoid that. For example, you can move to a no fault system in car or employment injuries to minimize that cost. The compromise is as follow: you waive your right to sue to ensure you will get compensated for injuries suffered when you get into an accident. Lawyers fees will be non existent, thereby saving money.

Do you have any evidence that your civil rights have been violated?

No, and I am not saying mine were, but look at the case that was recently thrown out and it seems the plaintiff had received secret information that showed that to be the case, but weren’t allowed to use it because it was secret.

from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23235602/

A lawsuit filed by an Islamic charity met a similar fate. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against the Oregon-based U.S. arm of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, concluding that a key piece of evidence is protected as a state secret.

In that case, the charity alleged the National Security Agency illegally listened to its calls. The charity had wanted to introduce as evidence a top-secret call log it received mistakenly from the Treasury Department.

mycowardice on March 3, 2008 at 11:53 PM

I never thought I’d see the day when Nancy Pelosi wasn’t liberal enough for her soon-to-be-exsupporters.

TooTall on March 4, 2008 at 11:28 AM

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